Eyes and lies: New study debunks connection of eye movement and dishonesty

Liar rubber stamp. Part of a series of stamp concepts. iStockphoto

(CBS News) Experts have long believed that watching a person's eyes can determine whether or not they are lying. The common belief is that people will subconsciously look to the left when telling the truth and to the right when fibbing. Researchers now believe that may be the biggest lie of all, as a new study finds no correlation between eye movement and dishonesty.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman of Britain's University of Hertfordshire led a study in which participants were asked to tell the truth or lie in front of a camera. A second group was then asked to watch the video of the first group and determine who was lying.

In a second study, Wiseman and his team give participants a lesson on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) - the field of science that has linked eye movement to lying.

In both cases, subjects were unable to determine who was being dishonest.

"The results of the first study revealed no relationship between lying and eve movements," Wiseman wrote in the journal PLoS ONE. "The second showed that telling people about the claims made by NLP practitioners did not improve their lie detection skills."

"A large percentage of the public believes that certain eye movements are a sign of lying, and this idea is even taught in organizational training courses," Dr. Caroline Watt, who co-authored the study, said. "Our research provides no support for the idea and so suggests that it is time to abandon this approach to detecting deceit."

  • Bailey Johnson

Comments